HVAC: Which does "fan-coil" mean to you?

When you hear the term “fan-coil unit”, does that really mean “air handler”? Or, as I’ve heard the term, it’s a unitary system - like in a hotel room. Are both correct, or is the former an incorrect application of this term? - Jinx

I suppose that technically a fan coil unit is a type of air handler, but no one in the industry is going to confuse the two. A fan coil unit serves small areas, perhaps a room or two, and air handler serves a larger area. In additon, an air handler usually have an option for a mixing box, economizer and exhaust or return fan, things that a fan coil lacks.

Dag Otto, on a residential split system, even…the indoor unit is still an air handler, isn’t it? I don’t believe it is correct to call this a fan-coil. I ask because a field report I was reading was calling out “fan-coil” units…which gave me the wrong impression. I believe they more correctly mean air handlers.

Thanks for helping me clear that up…

  • Jinx